The Sido Kanhu Murmu University was established on 10 January 1992 by an Act in the Bihar Legislative Assembly. The university was established by amending the Bihar State Universities Act 1976 (Bihar Act 23/1976) as a response to a prolonged demand of a univerisity by student leaders felt marginalised in the map of Higher Education in undivided Bihar. The amendment primarily changed the jurisdiction of the Bhagalpur University by bifurcating the six districts of Santhal Parganas, which now came under the jurisdiction of the new university. This was a fruition of the centuries old dream of cultural and economic identity of the region.
Today the SKM University is recognized by the University Grants Commission and is the most important educational institution in the area. With nearly fifty constituent and affiliated colleges and fifty thousand students in the six districts of Santhal Parganas under its umbrella, the University has been fulfilling the constitutional vision of inclusive empowerment of its Indian citizens. The university and its postgraduate departments run from the picturesque campus at Dighi, where it entered into its glorious silver jubilee year. The University offers courses in traditional subjects as well as in many professional subjects like Business Management, Computer Applications, Library Science that have are crucial to the human resource development in the marginalised area of Santhal Parganas. The university has its own well-organized schedule of conferences and seminars; sports, educational excursions, scholarships and research projects. Despite the challenges the faculty of the University have been invited to prestigious institutions in India and abroad, while the students regularly find employment in reputed institutions, both government and private. Several eminent leaders of the State of Jharkhand are alumni of the university.
Set amidst lush green landscape, with the undulating hills of Dumka in the background the University has new state-of-the-art buildings, and other infrastructure and sculpture of the fire-brand revolutionary leaders, Sido and Kanhu. With a visionary leadership at the helm, scores of dedicated teachers and staff, and its spirited students, SKM University Dumka is finally poised to take off.
Sido Kanhu Murmu University: Breathing a new life of aspirations and hope.
SKMU has undergone significant change in the last three years and has paid serous overall attention to its processes, outputs and outcomes in the pursuit of the core missions of the University. The mission of the University may only be understood in terms of its location in an area lagging being but eager to make progress in all areas of human activity. The academic and social activities of the University are now directly driven by a desire to change its relationship with its student constituency which will produce the leaders of the future.
The University is showing an eagerness to reform both its academic and administrative structure and function with a view to becoming more effective and efficient in the delivery of its programmes and other activities. The university has shifted to its fast developing campus, which facilitates the consolidation of all its activities, and situate them within the context of a very dynamic environment of higher education in the Santhal Parganas. It is now joyfully anticipated that the University in its new campus will now develop as a centre for human development and create a sense of empowerment in the people. The foundations are now being laid down to groom this University as a centre for the training of minds and also prepare them for the challenging world of employment. Further, as research becomes more and more important to the economy and society, the University with its academies of research, most notably the Santhal Academy, is regulating the balance between policy planning and its beneficiaries.
We have now opened ourselves to a creative dialogue with other universities in Jharkhand and beyond as well as to research institutions of more flexible nature. Innovations are being made through introduction of technologies for teaching and doing research, catching up fast with the considerable advances made by our country in the areas of digitization. The University has now woken up to its constitutional responsibilities making special strategies to create a fruitful environment for inclusive education that can enhance both the quality of life and the standards of achievement of the students. New colleges for girls, special shifts to accommodate the ever growing influx of students from obscure villages, and restructuring of the curriculum to suit the special genius and livelihood requirements of the students are creating a new University. These, indeed, are the moments of the rebirth of the University.
Talking about the American University, Clark Kerr said that the modern American university is ‘a new type of institution, it is not really private and it is not really public; it is neither entirely of the world nor entirely apart from it. It is unique.’ Kerr’s insistence, evidently, was in the essential hybridity of universities. Universities in the modern world must work from both inside and outside and blend many institutional roles in one. Yet a university like Sido Kanhu Murmu University has to make its choices: it cannot become too many things. It has to find its own justifications for the choices it has made. These justifications can then be the animating principles of the University—in other words, the soul of the university.
At SKM University we have chosen the medium path between liberal knowledge of eternal truths that maps out the vast ‘territory of human intellect’ and useful knowledge that serves the needs of society. Cardinal Newman’s beautiful portrayal may well be considered as describing the university’s aims
at raising the intellectual tone of society, at cultivating the public mind, at purifying the national taste, at supplying true principles to popular enthusiasm and fixed aims to popular aspirations, at giving enlargement and sobriety to the ideas of the age, at facilitating the ideas of the age, at facilitating the exercise of political powers, and refining the intercourse of private life.